DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC|24 JUN 2021|RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

24 June 2021 - Thrusday

Index

 

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

The gender technology gap has to end

The Hindu

2

It’s time for RBI to turn its attention to inflation

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

The Kashmir outreach and the Afghan storm

SyllabusGS 3: Internal security

Analysis: –

  • Two years after its dramatic decision to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the Government appears to be rethinking some of the objectives it announced then as Prime Minister Narendra Modi engages the erstwhile State’s former leadership to discuss the future of the political process there.
  • Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah had spoken of three specific objectives in the move to amend Article 370 on August 5, 2019, apart from ending terrorism and violence in J&K:
    • flooding the region with development initiatives and investment from other parts of the country;
    • reclaiming those parts of the territory now occupied by Pakistan and China (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, or PoK, and Aksai Chin),
    • ending the rule of political “dynasties” in J&K — that they claimed had held the progress of the State hostage — in favour of a “Naya Kashmir” polity.
  • Above all, the Government underlined, as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar undertook a series of visits abroad to explain its nuances, the decision was purely an “internal” one, and did not affect India’s ties with any other country.

Mains Analysis

The gender technology gap has to end

Why in News?

There needs to be a feminist approach to technology to solve the social impacts of the South Asian COVID-19 crisis.

Syllabus— GS 1: Women, GS 2: Vulnerable sections

Background: –

  • As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has swept South Asia in recent months, existing inequalities have come to light.
  • One aspect stands out: access to technology has never been so crucial to ensuring public health and safety.
  • Around the world, information and access to health care have largely moved online, and those left behind face grave disadvantages.

Recent statistics: –

  1. According to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) estimates, over 390 million women in low- and middle-income countries do not have Internet access.
    • South Asia has more than half of these women with only 65% owning a mobile phone.
    • In India, only 14.9% of women were reported to be using the Internet.
  2. Recent local data revealed that nearly 17% more men than women have been vaccinated.

Technological Challenges for women: –

  • Women and girls are the largest consumer groups left out of technology and could be major profit drivers.
  • In part, this is due to deeply held cultural beliefs: it is often believed that women’s access to technology will motivate them to challenge patriarchal societies.
  • There is also a belief that women need to be protected, and that online content can be dangerous for women/expose them to risks.
  • These gaps prevent women and LGBTQIA+ people from accessing critical services.
  • In India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, for example, fewer women than men received the necessary information to survive COVID-19.
  • The supposedly neutral world of technology is full of examples of this: from video games to virtual assistants to the increasingly large dimensions of “handheld” smartphones, technology is not always made with everyone in mind.

 

Feminism and Technology: –

Feminism, means being inclusive, democratic, transparent, egalitarian, and offering opportunities for all. We can call it equality through innovation.

Feminist technology (sometimes called “femtech”) is an approach to technology and innovation that is inclusive, informed and responsive to the entire community with all its diversity.

Possible Solutions

  1. As part of the Generation Equality Forum in UN, the goal is to double the number of women and girls working in technology and innovation.
  2. By 2026, the aim is to reduce the gender digital divide and ensure universal digital literacy, while investing in feminist technology and innovation to support women’s leadership as innovators.
  3. Through digital empowerment programmes and partnerships such as EQUALS and International Girls in ICT Day led by UN Women and the International Telecommunication Union, we hope that more girls will choose STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
  4. Policy cannot solve this on its own, but the private sector can. Companies should not look at gender-equal technology solely from an altruistic perspective, but from a pragmatic one.
  5. Other than apps, built-in features on mobile phones such as an emergency button connecting women to law enforcement if they face unwanted street harassment should also be considered.

Way Forward: –

Now is the time to act. The right thing to do is also the smart thing to do. Bringing an end to the gender technology gap will save lives and make livelihoods more secure. As a result, the next pandemic, once it arrives, may not be nearly as destructive. It can only lead to a better community and a better world for us all.

We now have the opportunity to shape our future in a way that is more equal, diverse, and sustainable in the world of technology in the aftermath of the medical and socioeconomic devastation in the past year.

Question: –

While improving awareness of how to access vaccination and help are crucial to protecting women, the mindset around digital technology and device ownership must also change. Elaborate the statement.

It’s time for RBI to turn its attention to inflation

Why in News?

Dharmakirti Joshi, Pankhuri Tandon write: So far, it has not responded to high inflation. But recent trends will persuade it to turn focus back on prices.

Syllabus—GS3: Inflation

Background: –

  • Until April this year, only wholesale inflation (WPI) was on the rise, led by fuel and commodity prices. But in May, even retail inflation (CPI) picked up, printing at 6.3 per cent.
  • Notably, CPI inflation crossed the RBI’s upper limit of 6 per cent after five months.
  • And the run-up was not just year-on-year (which can be somewhat discounted due to the data disruptions in April-May last year) but also on a sequential month-on-month basis.
  • What are its implications?
  • Rising inflation hurts lenders & benefit borrowers.
  • Govt the biggest borrower stands to benefit as high inflation will lower the national debt load in relation to the size of the economy.
  • Recently, the real GDP growth forecast for 2021-22 has lowered from 11% to 9.5%.
  • But our nominal GDP estimate has gone up from 15% to around 16.5% due to rising WPI & CPI at 7.4% & 5.3% respectively.
  • The GDP deflator, which measures the difference between nominal & real GDP, is a weighted average of WPI & CPI.
  • Given that nominal GDP is used as a base for computing the fiscal ratios, all of these get deflated.
  • The value of past debt & debt servicing costs thus gets pared in real terms as inflation rises.
  • In other words, as the gap between growth & interest rate rises, the debt/GDP ratio falls.
  • The mounting inflation reduces purchasing power & hits private consumption also.
  • With income under stress, the impact on consumption can get magnified.
  • Also at present, this inflation is likely to hit private consumption in rural areas more than in urban areas.
  • Overall in May, food CPI at 5% was lower than non-food inflation at 7.1%.
  • This is a continuation of the pattern observed in the past 5 months where food inflation averaged at 3.5% vs. non-food inflation at 6%.
  • Lower food inflation coupled with higher non-food inflation means reduced purchasing power for farmers.
  • The last year favorable conditions for agriculture are now worsening.
  • However, in May, the food inflation is lower in rural areas vis-à-vis urban areas.
  • Last year, in a normal monsoon, a bumper crop & high food inflation in wholesale & retail markets added to rural incomes.
  • At the same, govt support through ramped-up MGNREGA & PM-Kisan allocations & record food procurement also helped in this regard.
  • But this year, even though a normal monsoon is projected but MGNREGA support is budgeted at a lower level & prices trends are not supportive for the rural population.

Inflation trends: –

  • Inflation trends mainly input prices matter for corporate performance as well.
  • As of now, the producers are bearing a part of the burden of rising input costs, but these would be passed on in greater measure to consumers once demand recovers.

Way Forward

  • Since the onset of a pandemic, RBI with an objective to support growth has not intervened in high inflation.
  • But the current spell of inflation is over a high base & the continuation of the same trends will persuade RBI to focus back on inflation.
  • Hence RBI will have to closely monitor inflation trends & calibrate its policy response.
  • It is to be noted that with a 4% repo rate, the real rate has been negative for over a year.
  • The rising inflation reduces returns on fixed income instruments such as bank deposits that account for over 50% of households financial savings.
  • This impact had induced a shift to risker asset classes like equities that has ramifications for overall financial stability.

Question: –

It is high time for RBI to stay on an accommodative stand because it is the need of the hour to consider other supply-side interventions such as cuts in excise rates on petroleum products to soften the inflation blow. Discuss

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